Tell Your Vision: Underappreciated Television Performances

Television has always been a medium of great success or nose-diving failures. Some last, some pass, but no matter the brilliance or utter depravity of a show, they all have something in common: characters.

They annoy and frustrate, enlighten and observe, all while establishing a mood and atmosphere that grounds a show in their particular space of reality. But often characters never get due their diligence and their actions and words go unnoticed and under-appreciated.

Luckily we are here to shed some light on characters and and their real-life counterparts that never received, or receive, the attention they so rightfully deserve.

1. Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson

“Parks and Recreation” is a show driven by the heart of their colorful and relatable characters, but consistently, it is Nick Offerman that steals every scene.

As manly man Ron Swanson, who likes his meat rare, his whiskey strong and his bacon and eggs at the ready, Offerman is not only hilarious, but genuine as well. He has pitfalls like everyone else, though his are mostly related to and inspired by his ex-wife Tammy, and though he works for the state government, he believes government should interfere as little as possible with the day-to-day lives of the city’s inhabitants.

And was it mentioned that he has an epic mustache? “Parks and Recreation” is a lovable show whose popularity is only growing with each subsequent episode and while the entire cast and crew should be bombarded with praise, Nick Offerman is a standout amongst an already stellar cast.

2. David Cross as Dr. Tobias Funke

David Cross is funny. That may be the most obvious statement of all time but anyone who ever doubts the comedic abilities of the stand-up comedian/actor need only look to his performance as psychotherapist turned wanna-be actor Tobias Funke in the criminally under cut “Arrested Development”.

This show was perfect, from concept to execution, and what is perhaps most impressive was its ability to keep up a relentlessly funny and sly pace that never once faltered for its entire 53 episode run. And the same statement could be said of Cross, who was only supposed to be a supporting character but was so good that he was brought on full time.

Cross nails every aspect of Tobias perfectly, from his blatantly repressed homosexuality, to his obsession with becoming an actor, and though he his without a doubt the most awkward character in the history of television, he is made loveable and a joy to behold thanks to the talents of David Cross.

3. Callum Keith Rennie as Lew Ashby

Although Rennie was only in ten episodes of Showtime’s “Californication” his take on aging rock star and record producer Lew Ashby provided the show’s waning second season with some of its most memorable moments.

For the uninitiated, “Californication” follows the exploits of literary-Casanova Hank Moody, played by David Duchovny, as he struggles through his day to day life in Los Angeles. In the second season, Hank is hired by Ashby to write the biography of his life and get to the heart of why Ashby’s productions are always massively successful.

The two play wonderfully off each other as both are inclined towards narcotics and the company of women, and they seem at once long lost brothers and compatriots in the fight against mediocrity and the steady decline of the human sensibility.

Rennie captures Ashby’s boisterous spirit with an unequivocal ease and is so attuned to Ashby’s jumps, skips, and rolls that watching him on screen is without a doubt as good as the second season can get.

4. Jeffrey Tambor as Hank Kinglsey

Jeffrey Tambor has been around since the seventies, and no matter the role or the quality of the production he is always a pleasure to behold, as one can never know what to expect. And in 1992, practically a veteran thespian, Tambor unleashed onto the world the mismatched, funny, rude but eternally likable Hank Kingsley in HBO’s “The Larry Sander’s Show“.

As sidekick to fictional talk show host Larry Sanders, Kingsley seems a bit of an oaf with his endless product endorsements and general aloofness, but when you dig deeper, you find a man with a great drive and determination, and although he can devolve to a bumbling, crying mess, he is a genuine character with hopes, desires, shame and heart.

He is the butt of every joke and never gets the respect he believes he deserves, which inevitably and regularly leads to comic gold. And perhaps the most thrilling aspect of Hank Kinsley is Jeffrey Tambor, who, by looking at his previous work, is clearly deep in character and acts with such ease and grace that you doubt he is anyone but Hank Kinglsey.